This article is a brief rundown of what to expect once you graduate college and go out to the real word as an estimator. In college my estimating classes focused more on theory, than actual real world practices.   After I graduated and embarked onto an intensive career path as an estimator, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. Here are a few steps that can help you make a good transition from text book to real world practice.

1. Work as much internships as possible, here are a few in the construction industry: BCA (Building contractors association of NJ), CIAP (Construction industry advancement program), Housing scholars program:

“Internship, internship and more internship”,  they are so vital to your career path.  Many companies typically look for new hirers that are eager to learn with some experience under their belt.  Having some basic experience like blue print reading and being able to do a takeoff puts new hirers in the lime light of employers.  Having a quality internship will help to get your foot through the door and will give you an edge over your classmates that weren’t able to take advantage of  internships.

2. Focus on developing a skill before you get into management:

Some employers may be quick to move a college graduate up the ladder, without having the proper experience to be a well rounded manager.  My advice is to develop your skills and be patient so that when the management position comes up, you may be well suited for the position.

3. Ask all the questions you can:

The first few years of your career as an estimator should really focus on absorbing as much information as possible.  Many new hirers seem reluctant to ask questions, afraid of not looking competent.  This is a big misconception because your employer should already realize that you are inexperience as a new college graduate.

4. Do not be a” clock in clock out person” (if you need to stay a few more hours to complete your assignment do so):

My advice is to definitely try to live a balanced life.  Work your position as if you were working for your own company.  Being a time watcher doesn’t help anyone.  Spending the extra time in the office or taking some work at home is well worth it in the end.

5. Move around your first five years in order to find your niche, estimating is a big field (heavy highway, interiors, core & shell, ground up):

The construction industry is very vast.  If possible spend your first few years experiencing how the industry is broken up.  After experiencing all that you can, than pick one branch that you may focus on for the next 30-40 years of your career.

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